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Festive week has fatal start

The season of merry-making got off to a cruel start with death. A motorcyclist and his pillion rider crashed into a Calcutta police bus on Sunday morning, allegedly after a night of drinking.

A witness said the two were alternately standing up on the moving two-wheeler, “like in the scene from Sholay”. The helmets of Biswajit Jana, 32, and Pijush Kanta Dalui, 26, were smashed in the collision at the intersection of Queensway and Casuarina Avenue.

Jana, a scrap iron dealer from Haldia, died immediately, while Dalui, who lived in Garia and worked in a bar-cum-restaurant in south Calcutta, succumbed to his injuries at SSKM Hospital.

“It seems that the two were not in a position to ride a two-wheeler. Witnesses told us that they were zigzagging along the road,” said joint commissioner (traffic) Ranveer Kumar. “The duo were supposed to return home last night but did not.”

Jana, who was riding Dalui’s motorcycle, had arrived in the city on Thursday and put up in a hotel in Howrah. “He had postponed his return to Haldia twice on Friday and Saturday. He spent Saturday night with friend Dalui and was to return home on Sunday evening. His wife had made arrangements to celebrate his birthday on December 25. The couple have a two-year-old daughter,” said a police officer. Dalui, too, was married.

According to the police, the motorcycle was speeding down Casuarina Avenue towards its crossing with Queensway around 6.45am. The bus, belonging to the rapid action force, was coming from the opposite direction.

The western flank of Casuarina Avenue is closed to traffic in the morning for the benefit of morning-walkers. As a result, both vehicles were on the eastern flank.

“Seeing that the rider was not in control of the bike, I stopped the bus. The two-wheeler strayed to the left of the road and rammed into the bus,” said Kasinath Mondal, who was driving the police vehicle.

He was taking a dozen policemen to American Center for duty there. The cops suffered minor injuries when the bus braked suddenly.

The police are waiting for the post-mortem and viscera reports to ascertain whether the two were drunk or not.

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